The vision and leadership of Catherine Alfano, PhD, have been instrumental to the research, programming and policy efforts of the American Cancer Society. As vice president of Survivorship, she has helped create clinical guidelines for comprehensive cancer survivorship follow-up care for breast, colorectal, prostate, and head and neck cancers. Dr. Alfano is also leading several efforts to ensure that oncology and follow-up care address cancer rehabilitation, lifestyle change and management of chronic and late effects, in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology and clinical groups from rehabilitation medicine, psychosocial care, palliative care, sports medicine and primary care.
Dr. Alfano’s commitment to cancer survivorship has been a theme throughout her career. As a rehabilitation psychologist, she’s provided care for people living with and beyond cancer. As an academic researcher, she’s examined the lifestyle and clinical factors related to symptom burden and breast cancer mortality, and received an internal National Institutes of Health MERIT Award recognizing her leadership in that effort. She has also been the catalyst for new research at the National Cancer Institute, helping to target funding for rehabilitation and lifestyle change trials in cancer survivors.
Dr. Alfano is also firmly committed to training tomorrow’s cancer care leaders. She has advised and mentored more than 50 trainees on cancer survivorship research. Her mentees have gone on to take leadership positions at the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and academic institutions across the country. In the words of her colleague, Julie Silver, MD, “Dr. Alfano is a key leader in survivorship care in the U.S. – and beyond.”